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Emergency Debates

The Standing Orders provide Members with an opportunity to hold special debates on urgent matters. A Member may request that the House discuss a matter requiring urgent consideration by debating a motion to adjourn the House and, if the request is granted, the debate is held at the earliest opportunity, forgoing the usual 48-hours’ notice.

Initiating Debate

Written notice of the subject of a proposed emergency debate must be received by the Speaker at least one hour before the Member rises to make the request at the conclusion of the daily routine of business. The Member makes a brief statement, reading the text of the application filed with the Speaker. No discussion or argument is allowed.

If more than one notice has been received by the Speaker, Members are recognized in the order in which their applications were received.

The Speaker decides whether a matter warrants the urgent attention of the House and is not required to give reasons when granting or refusing a request for an emergency debate.

Criteria for Decision

The Speaker determines first whether the subject could be brought before the House within a reasonable time by other means.

The Speaker then considers:

Other conditions are also considered. Chair Occupants have established that the subject matter proposed should not normally:

The Speaker also takes into account the general wish of the House to have an emergency debate on the subject.

Only one motion for an emergency debate may be moved in a sitting.

Timing of Debate

An emergency debate must take place on the day the request is granted, unless the Speaker directs that it be taken up on the next sitting day.

From Monday to Thursday, such debates commence at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment (usually 6:30 p.m.) and end at no later than 12:00 midnight. On Fridays, emergency debates begin as soon as the Speaker finds the application acceptable, and continue until no later than 4:00 p.m.

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